Working Replica of Noah's Ark

Working Replica of Noah's Ark Opens SCHAGEN, Netherlands  -

The massive central door in the side of Noah's Ark was thrown open Saturday - you could say it was the first time in 4,500 years - drawing a crowd Of curious pilgrims and townsfolk to behold the wonder.

Of course, it's only a replica of the biblical Ark, built by Dutch CreationistJohan Huibers as a testament to his faith in the literal truth of the Bible. Reckoning by the old biblical measurements, Johan's fully functional ark

Is 150 cubits long, 30 cubits high and 20 cubits wide. That's two-thirds the length of a football field and as high as a three-story house. Life-size models of giraffes, elephants, lions, crocodiles, zebras, bison and other animals greet visitors as they arrive in the main hold.

"The design is by my wife, Bianca," Huibers said. "She didn't really want me to do this at all, but she said if you're going to anyway, it should look like this."

A contractor by trade, Huibers built the ark of cedar and pine --- Biblical Scholars debate exactly what the wood used by Noah would have been.

Huibers did the work mostly with his own hands, using modern tools and occasional help from his son Roy. Construction began in May 2005. On the uncovered top deck - not quite ready in time for the opening - will come a petting zoo, with baby lambs and chickens, and goats and one camel.

Visitors on the first day were stunned.

"It's past comprehension," said Mary Louise Starosciak, who happened to be bicycling by with her husband while on vacation when they saw the ark looming over the local landscape. "I knew the story of Noah, but I had no idea the boat would have been so big."

In fact, Noah's Ark as described in the Bible was five times larger than Johan's Ark. But that still leaves enough space near the keel for a 50-seat film Theater, where kids can watch the segment of the Disney film "Fantasia" that tells the story of Noah.

Another exhibit shows water cascading down on a model of the Ark. Exhibits on the third level show ancient tools and old-fashioned Barrels, exotic stuffed animals, and a wax model of an exhausted Noah reclining on a bed in the forecastle.

Genesis says Noah kept seven pairs of most domesticated animals and one breeding pair of all other creatures, plus his wife, three sons and three daughters-in-law together on the boat for almost a year while the world was deluged.

Perhaps it was only logical that the replica project would be the brainchild of a Dutchman: fear of floods are ingrained in the country's collective consciousness by its water-drenched history.

Lois Poppema, visiting from California, said she thought the Netherlands was exactly the right place for an ark. "Just a few weeks ago we saw Al Gore on television .. Saying that all Holland will be flooded" due to rising sea levels, she said. "I don't think the man who made this ever expected that global warning will become (such an important) issue - and suddenly having the ark would be meaningful in the middle of Holland."

Under sunny clear skies Saturday, Huibers said he wasn't worried about another biblical flood, since according to Genesis, the rainbow is the Sign of God's promise never to flood the world again. But he does worry that recent events such as the flooding of New Orleans could be seen as a portent of the end of time.

Huibers said he hopes the project will renew interest in Christianity in The Netherlands, where churchgoing has fallen dramatically in the past 50 years. He also plans to visit major cities in Belgium and Germany.

Build an ark?
In the year 2007, the Lord came unto Noah, who was now living in Canada, and said, 'Once again, the earth has become wicked and over-populated, and I see the end of all flesh before me. Build another Ark and save two of every living thing along with a few good humans. He gave Noah the blueprints, saying, 'You have six months to build the Ark before I will start the unending rain for 40 days and 40 nights.'
Six months later, the Lord looked down and saw Noah weeping in his yard - but no Ark. 'Noah!' He roared, 'I'm about to start the rain! Where is the Ark?' 'Forgive me, Lord,' begged Noah, 'but things have changed. I needed a building permit. I've: been arguing with the inspector about the need for a sprinkler system. My neighbours claim that I've violated the neighbourhood zoning laws by building the Ark in my yard and exceeded the height limitations. We had to go to the Development Appeal Board for a decision. Then the Hydro One demanded a bond be posted for the future costs of moving power lines and other overhead obstructions, to clear the passage for the Ark's move to the sea. I told them that the sea would be coming to us, but they would hear nothing of it. Getting the wood was another problem. There's a ban on cutting local trees in order to save the spotted owl. I tried to convince the environmentalists that I needed the wood to save the owls - but no go! When I started gathering the animals, an animal rights group sued me. They insisted that I was confining wild animals against their will. They argued the accommodation was too restrictive, and it was cruel and inhumane to put so many animals in a confined space. Then the Ministry of the Environment ruled that I couldn't build the Ark until they'd conducted an environmental impact study on your proposed flood. I'm still trying to resolve a complaint with the Human Rights Commission on how many minorities I'm supposed to hire for my building crew. Immigration and Naturalization are checking the Visa status of most of the people who want to work. The trades unions say I can't use my sons. They insist I have to hire only Union workers with Ark-building experience. To make matters worse, the Revenue Canada seized all my assets, claiming I'm trying to leave the country illegally with endangered species.
So, forgive me, Lord, but it would take at least 10 years for me to finish this Ark.' suddenly the skies cleared, the sun began to shine, and a rainbow stretched across the sky. Noah looked up in wonder and asked, 'You mean you're not going to destroy the world?' 'No,' said the Lord. 'The government beat me to it'

Thanks for giving us something to believe it, that we can see, feel and touch.
You should be so proud of your accomplishment! What a beautiful story, Noah and the Ark.
Its lesson is still worth heeding today,listen when the Lord speaks and don't procrastinate,
 do it now!Sometimes we don't understand the reason and in these times it's important to know that the Master has the plan. (Linda B. USA)

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